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N.O. charter head faces ethics charges

Friends of King Schools CEO Doris Hicks (Image from

The Louisiana Board of Ethics has filed civil charges against Doris Hicks, a well-known New Orleans charter school leader, and three of her relatives after finding them in violation of state laws aimed at preventing nepotism. The board found that Hicks, CEO of the Friends of King Schools, broke two state laws in hiring immediate family members and… Continue reading →

Louisiana Board of Ethics files charges against Friends of King Schools CEO Doris Hicks, 3 relatives

Friends of King Schools CEO Doris Hicks (Image from

The Louisiana Board of Ethics has filed charges against Friends of King Schools CEO Doris Hicks and three relatives after finding them in violation of state law aimed to prevent nepotism. The board determined Hicks violated two state laws for hiring immediate family members and signing checks made out to them, according to the complaint,… Continue reading →

Closing of 3 New Orleans-area schools to displace hundreds of students in 2015

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- Holy Ghost School, in New Orleans, on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014.

Facing steady declines in enrollment, three New Orleans-area Catholic schools will close at the end of the current school year, a move that will send 507 children, their parents and about 50 faculty and administrators in Orleans, Jefferson and St. John the Baptist parishes looking for new elementary schools in 2015. Pastors with Holy Ghost School… Continue reading →

St. Tammany legislators tell Slidell crowd they’re committed to removing Common Core from classrooms

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD --  State Senator A.G. Crowe, center, addresses the audience during a forum on Common Core Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014, at the Northshore Harbor Center near Slidell. More than 70 people attended the meeting, chaired by state Senator A.G. Crowe, and state representatives Kevin Pearson, left,  and John Schroder Sr., right, all of St. Tammany Parish.

Saying they hoped to generate enough grass-roots support to get rid of Common Core, three St. Tammany Parish legislators told a small crowd in Slidell on Wednesday night that they are committed to working to remove the controversial state standards from state classrooms. State Sen. A.G. Crowe, of Slidell, and Reps. Kevin Pearson, of Slidell, and… Continue reading →

School performance scores remain steady across New Orleans area

Advocate staff photo by John McCusker -- Tiana Nobile teaches her first grade class at Morris Jeff Community School  in New Orleans.

School performance scores — a measure of public school quality that combines test results and dropout rates — remained relatively steady across the New Orleans area this year, according to figures released Tuesday by the state Department of Education. In part, that’s by design. The latest results come as Louisiana is making a controversial transition to… Continue reading →

UNO panel releases scorecard on how academic programs are doing

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Students Ray Shall, Barrett Gale and Benjamin Pridgen visit on the quad between classes at the University of New Orleans.

A working group of faculty at the University of New Orleans has released an initial scorecard that evaluates the school’s 80 degree programs on criteria including student demand, size, graduation rate, tuition revenue from students and whether it’s an area central to UNO’s core mission. Programs that receive top marks include undergraduate programs in biological sciences,… Continue reading →

School performance scores basically flat across New Orleans metro area

District performance scores

School performance scores — a measure of public school quality that combines test results and dropout rates — remained relatively steady across the New Orleans area this year, according to figures released Tuesday by the state Department of Education. In Orleans, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes, so-called district performance scores, encompassing results from all public schools,… Continue reading →

New Beginnings charter schools sign 3-year-contract with CEO

The New Beginnings Schools Foundation, one of the city’s many nonprofit charter school operators, has reached a three-year contract with its chief executive officer, Sametta Brown. On top of a base salary of $140,000, Brown will be able to earn up to $35,000 more by reaching specified performance benchmarks. The base pay amounts to… Continue reading →

Jefferson School Board races pit candidates backed by competing groups

Gene Katsanis

Residents on Jefferson Parish’s East Bank will essentially be presented with a referendum on the parish School Board as they go to the polls on Nov. 4. The five East Bank races are primary battlegrounds in an electoral fight between board members backed by business groups — including the Jefferson Chamber and Jefferson Business Council —… Continue reading →

Jefferson School Board members exchange accusations at court hearing

Cedric Floyd, left, and Michael Delesdernier

Finger pointing. Shouting. Bumping chairs. Although the allegations sound like they could come from one of Jefferson Parish’s public schools, they form the heart of a dispute that saw two members of the parish’s School Board facing off in court Friday. Board members Michael Delesdernier and Cedric Floyd have been bitter foes over the… Continue reading →

Amid financial troubles, Loyola seeks to raise $100 million

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER---Loyola University New Orleans hosted a media tour on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, to present their 3 year, $3 million remodel of the Monroe Science Complex.

Amid financial pressures that have led to faculty positions being cut through several voluntary buyouts, Loyola University last week announced an ambitious fundraising campaign in which it hopes to raise $100 million to go toward updating facilities, investing in athletics, funding more scholarships and creating a new home for its Jesuit Center. The effort, dubbed the… Continue reading →

St. Tammany School Board considers changes to math curriculum

For months, parents in St. Tammany Parish have been venting their frustration with Common Core, the controversial educational standards that were adopted by the state in 2010 but only fully implemented this year. Lately, that anger has focused on the parish’s math curriculum, specifically on materials culled by the parish from Eureka Math, a Common Core-aligned… Continue reading →

Ex-St. Augustine chairman warns of insolvency from loss of lower grades

The chairman of the board that governs St. Augustine High School has resigned over the board’s decision to eliminate the sixth and seventh grades, warning fellow board members in an email that the school risks financial insolvency if it doesn’t reverse course. Daniel Davillier’s decision to step down from the board on Thursday is part of… Continue reading →

Blouin-Williams in line to be next Jefferson schools chief

Superintendent James Meza; Chief Academic Officer Michelle Blouin-Williams

Jefferson Parish Schools Superintendent James Meza has formally lined up the district’s chief academic officer to take the reins after he leaves the system, promoting Michelle Blouin-Williams to deputy superintendent and outlining a transition plan for the coming months. The move is part of a plan, supported by the School Board, to insulate… Continue reading →

UNO foundation broke federal rules in awarding contracts after Katrina, audit says

Advocate file photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Statewide enrollment figures for institutions like the University of New Orleans were released Wednesday, October 17, 2012. Here students walk the quad at UNO.

A nonprofit arm of the University of New Orleans flouted federal contract policies in its awarding of millions of dollars in repair work at the lakefront school after Hurricane Katrina, the Inspector General’s Office for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said in a report issued Wednesday. The report said the UNO Research and Technology Foundation did not… Continue reading →

Tammany School Board seeks candidates for interim appointment

The St. Tammany Parish School Board is planning to vote at a special meeting Thursday night on naming an interim member to fill the District 14 seat left vacant by the death of Ray Alfred earlier this month. The board has invited candidates for the seat to submit letters of interest, which are due at noon Wednesday.… Continue reading →

St. Tammany parents vent their anger at Common Core

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Parent Jenny Klein speaks during a special St. Tammany Parish School Board meeting to discuss Common Core Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, at the C.J. Schoen Administrative Complex in Covington. More than 300 people attended the meeting, both in the board's chamber and in an overflow area.

Like the latest skirmish in a much larger war, anger over Common Core bubbled up in St. Tammany Parish again Thursday night, when the parish’s School Board — which last year passed a resolution opposing the controversial new standards — held a special meeting to discuss how the standards are playing out in the parish’s public school classrooms.… Continue reading →

UNO, Delgado forge agreement on American Sign Language studies, and other news of higher education

Photo provided by Louisiana Community and Technical College System Board of Supervisors -- Joan Yvette Davis was selected Wednesday as the new chancellor of Delgado Community College. She is interim president of Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Leaders of the University of New Orleans and Delgado Community College have signed an agreement paving the way for Delgado graduates who have completed an associate degree in American Sign Language studies to easily transfer their credits to UNO in order to pursue a bachelor’s degree in… Continue reading →

Orleans School Board sells Priestley site to charter over some objections

The Orleans Parish School Board voted last week to allow the Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans, a French-curriculum charter school, to buy the former Alfred C. Priestley school campus in West Carrollton, despite protests from an activist group and legal claims by a private developer. Before the School Board even announced this summer that it would… Continue reading →

Six-term St. Tammany School Board member Ray Alfred dies

Ray Alfred

Ray Alfred, the longest-serving member of the St. Tammany Parish School Board, died Wednesday, according to a news release from the school system. Alfred, 60, had spent 24 years on the board representing District 14 and was unopposed when he qualified to run this fall for a seventh term in the Slidell-area seat. The… Continue reading →